In Britton v. Turner, 6 N.H. 481 (1834), the plaintiff agreed to work for the defendant for one year, for a total pay of $120. The plaintiff performed the work required, but left prior to the end of the one year term. There were no damages as the result of the early departure, but the defendant did not pay. The plaintiff sued, and the defendant defended on the grounds that the plaintiff had breached the contract.
The New Hampshire Supreme Court held that even though he had breached the contract, the plaintiff was entitled to the reasonable value of the services rendered under the doctrine of quantum meruit. Even though he had not completed performance of the contract, he was nonetheless entitled to quantum meruit damages.
Full text of Britton v. Turner at Google Books.
Richard P. Clem is an attorney and continuing legal education (CLE) provider in Minnesota. He has been in private practice in the Twin Cities for 25 years. He has a J.D., cum laude, from Hamline University School of Law in St. Paul and a B.A. in History from the University of Minnesota. His reported cases include: Asociacion Nacional de Pescadores a Pequena Escala o Artesanales de Colombia v. Dow Quimica de Colombia, 988 F.2d 559, rehearing denied, 5 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 1993), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 1041 (1994); LaMott v. Apple Valley Health Care Center, 465 N.W.2d 585 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991); Abo el Ela v. State, 468 N.W.2d 580 (Minn. Ct. App. 1991).
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